The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Archive for July, 2013

Biogenesis suspensions could come Friday07.31.13

Welcome to Trade Deadline Day, but we’ll start with the latest in the Biogenesis situation. The Daily News reports that Major League Baseball has informed the Players Association of its plans to suspend Alex Rodriguez and eight others. According to the report, not all connected to Biogenesis will be suspended because the league didn’t have enough evidence on everyone. Yahoo! says the vast majority of players suspended will accept the suspensions without appeal. The Associated Press says suspensions could be announced on Friday. Here’s the AP…

Alex RodriguezNEW YORK (AP) — Friday could be D-day for Major League Baseball’s drug investigation.

Deliberations over suspensions in the Biogenesis case could stretch out for the rest of this week and delay announcements, two people familiar with the talks said Tuesday.

It appeared several of the dozen or so targeted players were likely to reach agreements on their penalties and avoid grievance hearings, one of the people said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

Both said MLB hopes to announce the penalties for all players involved at the same time.

Three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and four 2013 All-Stars — Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon — are among the players who have been linked in media reports to Biogenesis. The closed Florida anti-aging clinic was accused by Miami New Times in January of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs, sparking MLB’s investigation.

Others linked in media reports include Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal and Seattle catcher Jesus Montero.

Melky Cabrera, the 2012 All-Star game MVP while with San Francisco, served a 50-game suspension last year for elevated testosterone, as did Grandal and Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner.

Players who don’t reach agreements can ask the players’ association to file grievances, which would lead to hearings before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. Discipline for first offenders under the drug agreement usually is not announced until after the penalty is upheld, but there is an exception when the conduct leading to the discipline already has been made public.

In addition, MLB may try to suspend Rodriguez under its collective bargaining agreement instead of its drug rules, which would lead to the suspension starting before the appeal.

Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun was the first player to reach an agreement with MLB. The 2011 NL MVP accepted a season-ending 65-game suspension last week. Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone in October 2011 but a 50-game suspension was overturned the following February by an arbitrator who ruled Braun’s urine sample was handled improperly.

Rodriguez appears at risk for the harshest penalty. The Yankees are expecting him to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation, and not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.

Associated Press photo

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Postgame notes: “There’s no doubt it’s getting late”07.31.13

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte has been better his past two starts, but it hasn’t mattered. Seven innings, two runs, and a no decision in another loss that dropped the Yankees farther from first place.

“There’s no doubt it’s getting late; we need to win,” Pettitte said. “All you can do now is look to tomorrow. We lost again tonight and all you can do is be positive and try to build on things. We got Derek back in the lineup, we got Sori back in the lineup. Obviously I feel a little better about the way that I’m throwing the ball. Our bullpen has been awesome all year, and it’s going to be awesome. We just have to stay positive and keep trying to get something rolling. Hopefully it starts tomorrow. Hiro’s obviously going to give us a good start, we feel like. Hopefully tomorrow is the day. We haven’t clicked it all together in a long time, but hopefully we can get on a good run here shortly because it’s definitely getting late.”

Right now, it’s games like this that define these Yankees. They can pitch well enough, but if a reliever who’s been awfully good for the past three months allows a soft single to left field in the ninth inning, that might be too much damage to withstand.

“I understand that we’re going to have to win games like this,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s not a surprise for me. I understand what we have. I think guys are trying to give good at bats, so I don’t get frustrated with it. I know we’re going to have to win close games.”

That’s been the company line for a while now, and Girardi has stuck with “have to win close games” as his way of acknowledging the offensive struggles. But the Yankees have now lost nine of their past 13, and they’re still a fourth-place team heading into the last day of July.

“Hopefully we can just will this thing, will it into the playoffs,” Pettitte said. “I know I expect to go, and I’m sure and I hope everyone else in this room feels the same way. I think the power of belief is awfully big and awfully important. And I believe in this club. I believe we got the guys in this room to do it, and we’re going to continue to try to push each other and get it done. … I wouldn’t have come back if I wasn’t ready to go through the grind and try to help push this team and push guys, and like I said, hopefully we can get it done.”

Derek Jeter• Derek Jeter said he feels good, and it’s clear that the Yankees desire to have him run lightly out of the box is driving him crazy. I’m not sure he would have beat out any of his ground balls tonight, and he might have had a chance on the ball that Hanley Ramirez had to dive for, but the Yankees have told Jeter to be smart about it. “It’s not a good one for me,” Jeter said. “I’m not very smart. It’s tough. You try to make a conscious effort to not do anything stupid, but it’s difficult to do, which I guess in a way is a good thing.”

• Jeter said he doesn’t expect to hold back for long. He also doesn’t expect the Yankees to tell him when he has the green light to run hard. “I’ll just do it,” he said. “I won’t tell them, I’ll probably just do it. … I try to look at the big picture. I’m trying to do what I’m told. I don’t want to do anything stupid, but it’s very difficult when your natural reaction is to run as hard as you can, and you can’t. It’s difficult, but that won’t last long.”

• Girardi on Jeter jogging out of the box: “We’ve talked to him about it. You’ve got to have a governor. That’s the bottom line. You’ve got to be smart about it. It’s not what we’re used to seeing, but we’ve got to protect his legs.”

• Girardi said he still expects to have Jeter back at shortstop tomorrow.

• After the Ichiro Suzuki double in the seventh, Girardi said he had no thoughts of pinch hitting for Jayson Nix. “This is a guy who’s been playing pretty decent for us all year long, so no, I did not,” Girardi said.

• Lyle Overbay provided the bulk of the Yankees offense tonight. Alfonso Soriano doubled and scored, but it was Overbay who had both RBI, one of them on a home run. He has four RBI in three games against the Dodgers this season.

Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki• Pettitte allowed both of his runs in the first two innings. That’s been a theme in his recent starts. “I felt pretty good after the first inning,” Pettitte said. “The first inning, my ball was cutting again, the two-seamers I was trying to throw. It would be nice to get through a first inning without giving up a run. … Mechanically, I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m just fighting myself to find it early. I’m going to get there. I’m going to fix it.”

• Shawn Kelley said, once he got to 3-1 against Mark Ellis, he’d decided to stick with his best pitch the rest of the way. He went with three straight sliders, and Ellis got just enough of the third one for the game-winner. “That pitch, that’s what I wanted to throw,” Kelley said. “I wanted a slider, and I wanted it down in the zone, Attack him with my best pitch, and I did, and it got him out in front a bit, but he got enough of it to get it in the outfield and that’s what he needed to do.”

• Had Robinson Cano not dropped the ball trying to make the quick tag, it looked like Chris Stewart’s throw — though it wasn’t very good — might have gotten Andre Ethier out at second on the stole base attempt earlier in the ninth. “It’s hard to say,” Girardi said. “I watched the ball and I didn’t watch anything else. I thought the ball beat him there, but I’m watching the ball.”

The Red Sox managed to improve their rotation tonight, giving up Jose Iglesias to acquire White Sox starter Jake Peavy. Iglesias will end up in Detroit as part of a three-team deal.

• The Yankees were reportedly looking into Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo, but he was traded to Oakland.

• Final word goes to Girardi: “We’ve talked about it all year long, that we’re going to have to win close games. It’s how we’re going to have to win games. We’re not a team that’s going to score a ton of runs. For us, first couple months we were winning all these games, and now we’ve lost some, and they’re difficult losses, but the effort is still there.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees take another step back with L.A. loss07.31.13

Yankees Dodgers Baseball

While the Red Sox were improving their rotation, the Yankees were falling farther back in the American League East. After a 3-2 walk-off loss tonight at Dodger Stadium, the Yankees are 8.5 games out of first place for the first time this season. The Rays, Red Sox and Orioles each won tonight; the Red Sox also traded for Jake Peavy. The Yankees couldn’t keep pace after Mark Ellis hit a game-winning, two-out single off Shawn Kelley in the ninth. Yankees starter Andy Pettitte allowed a run in the first inning and another in the second, but he settled in to allow just two more base runners — and no more runs — through the next five innings. He finished with seven innings, eight hits, two runs, no walks and three strikeouts. It was the first time since June 14 that he pitched through the seventh. The Yankees kept pace during those early innings, getting a solo home run by Lyle Overbay in the second inning and run-scoring ground out by Overbay in the fourth (driving in Alfonso Soriano, who’d doubled).

Associated Press photo

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Game 106: Yankees at Dodgers07.30.13

YANKEES (55-50)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix 3B
Chris Stewart C
Andy Pettitte P

LHP Andy Pettitte (7-8, 4.39)
Pettitte vs. Dodgers

DODGERS (56-48)
Carl Crawford LF
Yasil Puig RF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Hanley Ramirez SS
A.J. Ellis C
Andre Ethier CF
Juan Uribe 3B
Mark Ellis 2B
Zack Greinke P

RHP Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.49)
Greinke vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, YES Network and MLB Network

WEATHER: It’s L.A. Bright blue sky. Temperatures in the 70s. Beautiful.

UMPIRES: HP Bill Biller, 1B CB Bucknor, 2B Quinn Wolcott, 3B Dale Scott

MAYBE WITH A GREAT ROAD TRIP? Ichiro Suzuki has totaled 3,984 hits when combining his Major League total (2,706) and Pacific League total (1,278). He needs 16 more to reach the 4,000-hit plateau, reached only by Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,191), when taking into account hits from the highest levels of baseball in the U.S. and Japan.

HE HITS TOO: Zack Greinke is hitting .394/.474/.455 this season.

ON THIS DATE: On July 30, 2011, the Yankees scored a franchise-high 12 first-inning runs in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Baltimore. They sent 16 men to the plate with 13 of them reaching base. All nine batters had at least one hit and one run, and the Yankees won 17-3.

UPDATE, 10:35 p.m.: Pettitte gives up a run in the first, Overbay gets it right back with a solo homer in the second.

UPDATE, 10:43 p.m.: That was an 0-2 pitch from Pettitte that Uribe just hit for a go-ahead homer. Not the Dodgers first hard-hit ball of the night.

UPDATE, 11:09 p.m.: Ichiro’s throw and Stewart’s tag have saved a run and gotten Pettitte out of the third inning, but he’s already allowed six hits, and a lot of those have been hit awfully hard. He’s at 51 pitches. How long do he go?

UPDATE, 11:16 p.m.: Double. Wild pitch. RBI grounder to short. That’s all it takes to tie this thing at 2. Helps getting some extra-base hits every now and then.

UPDATE, 11:55 p.m.: Well, I thought Pettitte might be in for a short night, but he’s just pitched through the sixth and it’s still 2-2. The Dodgers have seven hits, but Pettitte has kept them at bay.

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Pregame notes: No time for easing Jeter in at shortstop07.30.13

Derek Jeter

The Yankees next five games are in National League stadiums, and it sounds like Derek Jeter could be playing shortstop for each one of them.

“I won’t hesitate to play him two in a row here, and then we’ll go from there,” Joe Girardi said.

Fresh off a quadriceps injury, Jeter had a day off yesterday, and the Yankees have another scheduled off day on Thursday. That schedule, despite the interleague games, makes it a little easier for Jeter to jump into regular duty in the field. Girardi didn’t completely commit to Jeter playing all three games in San Diego, but he certainly sounded like a man with no plans of absolutely sitting his shortstop.

“He’ll have some DH days and some off days, but I think at this point in the season, we don’t necessarily have the luxury of working guys necessarily in slowly,” Girardi said. “I think you have to just kind of go day-by-day and see where he’s at.”

Sunday’s game was Jeter’s first real game at shortstop in two and a half weeks, since he ended a rehab assignment before the All-Star break. He played a sort of simulated game on Saturday, and he played the field in three Triple-A games (plus simulated games in Tampa), but this could be his first extended stretch in the field.

“I think (the off days) should (help) because he has to work up to playing in everyday shape,” Girardi said. “That’s one thing that’s really difficult, and because of some of the injuries and us needing him, he didn’t probably play as much as a guy probably would in spring training.”

Eduardo Nunez• Speaking of shortstop, with Jeter active, the Yankees don’t really have a regular role for Eduardo Nunez. He’ll still play some short when Jeter has a DH day, but Girardi said the Yankees will also take a look at him as a third base option. “I want to see him work out there a couple of days before we do anything,” Girardi said. Three of Nunez’s past eight games have been multi-hit games.

• Despite the expectation of a substantial Biogenesis suspension, Alex Rodriguez is moving forward with his rehab process. “We have him scheduled for a rehab on Thursday, a game somewhere if everything goes OK,” Girardi said. “If we didn’t think he was going to be with us, we wouldn’t do those things.”

• Of course, Rodriguez isn’t here today, and it’s Jayson Nix at third base. Girardi said he does not necessarily consider Nix his everyday third baseman. “I’ll look at it every day to see what we’re going to do here,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing etched in stone. Third base has kind of been a revolving door a little bit. He’s going to get his share of playing time there, and we’ll move him around like we always did.”

• Looking for another third base option, Danny Knobler reports that the Yankees have shown interest in the Angels Alberto Callaspo. He’s a switch hitter who’s typically better against lefties, so there could be a platoon value there. Could also play some other positions in a pinch.

• As I type this, Curtis Granderson is playing a Double-A rehab game with Trenton. He’s so far 1-for-3 with a triple in his last at-bat. Still seems like Friday is a possibility for Granderson’s return. “He’ll play the next couple days in Trenton and we’ll make an evaluation,” Girardi said.

• David Phelps pitched in that Trenton game: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. The one run came on a solo homer.

• Not the best time to play the Dodgers, who are playing extremely well lately. “That’s part of it,” Girardi said. “You have to play these teams. We’ve played the Dodgers before and they were struggling a little bit, and we split with them. We know they’re playing extremely well. They’re really swinging the bats, and it’s part of the schedule. We’ll get through it.”

Associated Press photos

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Nix returns to play third in LA07.30.13

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix 3B
Chris Stewart C
Andy Pettitte LHP

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 66 Comments →

Could the Yankees get impact for Joba?07.30.13

Obviously things feel pretty quiet right now. With the trade deadline roughly 24 hours away, we’re still waiting for our first big move of the day. There’s a little bit of buzz around a handful of starting pitchers — Bud Norris, Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy — but there’s been no real action today.

The Yankees, in particular seem quiet. Joel Sherman just tweeted that they’re still on the lookout for a right-handed first baseman and “perhaps” a Joba Chamberlain move. The right-handed bat makes obvious sense given Lyle Overbay’s limitations, but in a handful of conversations this morning and afternoon, I have yet to find someone outside of the organization who thinks Chamberlain has any real value on the trade market.

“You certainly wouldn’t give up a prospect for Joba,” one scout said.

“You don’t trust the impact,” said one rival executive.

The executive noted that the Yankees could trade Chamberlain in a “move for the sake of move,” but not to get anything legitimate in return. Another executive from another team said that the “injury history hurts Joba as well.”

Makes sense for the Yankees to try to move him given that he’s fallen, basically, to the bottom of the bullpen pecking order, but it might be overly optimistic to expect much of anything in return.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 507 Comments →

Could Michael Young be on the move?07.30.13

Jeff Passan is reporting that the Phillies have decided to promote third base prospect Cody Asche to the big leagues, fueling speculation that Michael Young could be on the move.

A source told me this afternoon that I shouldn’t bank on Young being traded. It’s certainly possible, but there are also internal reasons for the Asche promotion. Joel Sherman writes that, if Young is being traded, it’s not to the Yankees.

It’s becoming harder and harder to count on Alex Rodriguez giving the Yankees any sort of boost this season. Would the Yankees go with some combination of Jayson Nix, Brent Lillibridge, David Adams and maybe Eduardo Nunez at third base for the rest of the season?

UPDATE, 1:40 p.m.: I was told the Yankees showed legitimate interest in Young, but Ken Rosenthal says Young will accept a trade only back to the Rangers.

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Pitching matchups in Los Angeles07.30.13

LHP Andy Pettitte (7-8, 4.39)
RHP Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.49)
10:10 p.m. ET, YES Network and MLB Network

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-6, 2.51)
LHP Clayton Kershaw (10-6, 1.96)
10:10 p.m. ET, YES Network

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 404 Comments →

Yankees have a busy week ahead07.30.13

At some point, we’ll know for sure what’s going on with Alex Rodriguez and Biogenesis and Major League Baseball. Until that happens — and unless the Yankees make a surprising move in the next 30 hours or so — everything else in this fairly busy week is going to feel secondary.

Jayson NixToday
Jayson Nix returns from hamstring injury
He’s a utility infielder, so it’s hard to make too much of his return, but Nix is likely to get significant time at third base now that his leg has healed. He’s hardly an offensive difference maker, but he does have a .272 batting average and .374 on-base percentage against lefties this season. His career numbers are better than Brent Lillibridge’s. He could be back in the lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Dodgers.

Trade deadline
The Yankees have made one move. Are they going to make another? The non-waiver deadline hits at 4 p.m. ET, but the Yankees seem stuck between contention and uncertainty. Are they willing to give up significant pieces of their future to improve their potentially hopeless present? If not, could they — and would they — dump veteran pieces for prospects?

Rodriguez in a game
Obviously this seems subject to change depending on the league’s response to Rodriguez’s connection to Biogenesis (and whether Rodriguez decides to appeal), but for now, the plan is for Rodriguez to play either simulated game or a minor league rehab game on August 1. Brian Cashman has said Rodriguez likely wouldn’t need much more time than this to be big league ready. The league might have quite a bit to say about that.

Curtis Granderson’s return?
The Yankees play a weekend series in San Diego, and Joe Girardi seemed to leave open the possibility of Granderson returning at some point during that series. “I don’t think that you’ll see Granderson, obviously, in L.A.,” Girardi said. “But we’ll see after that.” Is Cano, Soriano and Granderson and a middle of the order capable of making some noise the final two months?

Associated Press photo

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